The Effects of Wearing Flat Shoes

by Carole Ellis

Flat shoes are the ultimate in comfort. However, wearing flat shoes can have several different effects on your foot health and on the way people perceive you. Make sure that your shoes fit both your feet and the occasion before you opt for this comfortable, leisurely style.

Function

Flat shoes are designed for comfort and effective walking. However, even flat shoes can hurt your feet if they do not have arch support to help keep your feet in the proper position while walking. Flat shoes can also help minimize your height and give you an appearance and a feeling of being ready for anything.

Features

Flat shoes can have thin soles, thick rubber soles or even paper soles. They tend to cover the entire bottom of the foot, but they have little built-in support inside the shoe. Flat shoes can be extremely athletic or very fashionable, depending on your preferred style.

Types

Flat shoes come in many forms. Ballet flats are very popular, but they can actually seriously injure your feet over time because they provide no arch or ankle support. Flat tennis shoes give you a bouncy look and feeling, while flip flops are easy to kick on and off.

Effects

Flat shoes have a variety of effects on your feet. Most of them are good, since flats are far easier on your feet than heels, which place unusual amounts of pressure on your toes and the ball of your foot. However, flip flops often cause blisters, and wearing ballet flats or other unsupported forms of flats can create serious arch problems over time and make it painful to walk.

Even more serious effects of wearing flat shoes with little or no arch support exclusively include fallen arches, which are extremely painful and make walking difficult and exercise virtually impossible. One may also get inflamed tissues along the bottom of the foot. The latter condition is called plantar fasciitis, and it can ultimately require medication and even surgery to heal if you do not correct your footwear.

Flats without arch support also can cause lower back and ankle pain due to the "clopping" gait that they encourage.

Misconceptions

High heels have such a bad reputation that many people think that flat shoes are always a better alternative. However, a good pair of heels with healthy supports can actually serve you far better than a poorly made pair of flats. Regardless of what type of shoe you wear, make sure it fits snugly and does not place undue pressure on your toes, which can cause corns and bunions. Also, if your arches start to hurt while wearing flats, get an insert that will cushion your arches and keep them in the proper position.

Warning

Flat shoes are great for walking, but they are not always safe for working environments. If you are going to be touring a construction site, for example, make sure that you have thick soles on your flats. If necessary, they should have steel toes. Also, if you are going for a job interview and you are a woman, you should avoid wearing flats if possible. They tend to appear unprofessional with female business attire, and that can hurt your overall impression.